KenCrest has recently consolidated our COVID-19 resources into the following four categories for ease of viewing/finding information. Simply click on one of the categories below for the information you’re looking for.
Click below to see short video messages to our families and supporters during COVID-19 from our CEO, Marian Baldini.
June 2020 video message from Marian
April 2020 video message from Marian
Messages from Our CEO About COVID-19
April 2, 2020
To the KenCrest Community,
Along with many others, we find ourselves working to deliver essential services through truly challenging circumstances. We have all been called to put forth our best effort, and shine all of our focus on the people we support and teams who provide those services. We hold true to our mission of providing community supports, and we’ve mobilized hundreds of resources for families and individuals; explored many possibilities to ensure the continuation of care, health, and safety for all; and we’ve never wavered in empowering the dreams that mean so much to our extended family members.
As of April 1st, we did identify one individual who has the coronavirus. The individual is doing well, and we have taken every needed step to communicate with anyone connected to that person. We’re also applying every measure to promote the continued good health of those who were in contact with that individual. At the same time, we are honoring our commitment to confidentiality; only those who need to know information about the individual have been contacted.
Despite our first case, KenCrest has implemented a myriad of strategic measures to ensure the health and well-being of those in our care, including deploying all of our day program staff to support in our Community Living homes to keep everyone engaged in the meaningful daily activities they enjoy. We’ve integrated more technology into our homes, locations, and offices to keep staff, families, and clients connected to the people and routines that matter to them. This includes launching tele-therapy services for all of KenCrest’s early intervention families throughout southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as video chatting and utilizing digital resources to bridge stronger communication amongst clients and their families throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Connecticut.
KenCrest’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and our story has been featured throughout the Greater Philadelphia area on 6 ABC Action News, the Business Journal, and in the Philadelphia Inquirer. We continue to raise our voice and advocate for those we support both at the local and nation levels of government. As an essential business that must remain open, we are proud and truly grateful for our amazing staff who continue to provide the same high-quality direct care, regardless of the hardships and challenges we all face.
We are doing our best to provide staff and families with resources, updates, and answers to frequently asked questions about what’s taking place throughout our programs. I hope that the information we’ve complied will be useful to you and bring a greater sense of comfort, knowing that both you and your loved one are supported by KenCrest.
Despite the support we’ve received from the community, like all human service and healthcare providers, we have a limited supply of sanitation products and protective equipment including masks, gloves, and aprons. While we have not run out of supplies yet, supplies are low. If you or someone in your network would like to support KenCrest during this time, please review the “Help During COVID 19” section on our website. Every kind gesture—whether it’s donating cleaning supplies, sewing a mask, picking up the phone calling your loved one, or even sharing our posts with your network on social media—makes a difference in supporting KenCrest.
If you have any questions on how KenCrest is operating throughout pandemic or concerns regarding your loved ones well-being, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on our toll-free hotline at 833-329-4333. May the days to come continue to strengthen us and bring out the best in each other.
CEO and President of KenCrest
March 13, 2020
To our families, staff, and participants:
We are closely following advice from local, state, and federal health authorities regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The most important advice to follow, which all authorities agree upon, is handwashing. This is our best defense against the spread of this virus. As the number of cases in our communities grows, new guidelines and precautions can happen at any time.
As of today, KenCrest has not had a staff member or participant identified as having the virus. Here is a brief summary of our actions that we’ve taken this week, as well as our plans moving forward.
- As of March 13th, our day programs for adults in Chester and Montgomery Counties are closed. We expect that they will remain closed until March 30th.
- Our Early Intervention services in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania are also suspended until March 31st. As of March 23, our Early Intervention programs in Chester, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia are providing tele-intervention services supporting children and families.
- Our Early Learning Centers in Philadelphia are closed through March 27th in accordance with the School District of Philadelphia.
- If a staff member calls out sick, we will remind them of the virus symptoms and ask them to call their doctor.
- We will remind everyone to keep surfaces clean. Bleach is preferred but when supplies run low, soap and water helps.
- Individuals in our community homes will not have scheduled community activities, and we will restrict visits from non-KenCrest staff. This measure is in keeping with advice from the PA State Office of Developmental Programs.
- All other programs and services in PA, DE, and CT are open.
We suggest that everyone learn more about the virus and how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Access the latest information and health precautions by going to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
CEO and President of KenCrest
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates from KenCrest
UPDATE: March 17, 2020
For families who use our Early Intervention services, we have the following updates to share.
In the state of Pennsylvania:
- There are no Early Intervention services in Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County, Bucks County, and Philadelphia County. These services will begin again when the school districts for these counties re-open. As of March 23, our Early Intervention programs in Chester, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia are providing tele-intervention services supporting children and families.
- There are no services available for Montgomery County Intermediate Unit and Delaware County Intermediate Unit. These services will begin again when the school districts for these counties re-open.
In the state of Delaware:
- North and South – As of March 23, the program is open throughout the state via tele-intervention services.
COVID-19 Resources for Families
The following are resources and tips for families regarding the Coronavirus:
- For Connecticut – scroll down to “Find a Testing Site Near You” and enter you zip code
- For Delaware – use drop down for county listing
- For Pennsylvania – Scroll down for the map, use the green “near me” icon to input your address
- List of Non-Philadelphia Meal Sites
- List of Philadelphia Meal Sites
- Philabundance Searchable Food Map of Philadelphia
For Emotional Support
- KenCrest’s Advocacy Action Center – contact your legislators to advocate for child care and Family Care Act
- Coronavirus Social Story – from ASERT Collaborative
- Hand Washing Tips – from ASERT Collaborative
- Social Distancing Tips – from ASERT Collaborative
- COVID-19 Communication Board – from Temple University
- Toolkit of Ready-Made Resources to Support Individuals with Autism Around the COVID Crisis – from The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC
- KenCrest Participates in the 2020 Census
- Tips for Pennsylvanians Receiving a Paper Stimulus Check – what you need to know about cashing a stimulus check
KenCrest COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should a person do if they are experiencing domestic violence in their home but have nowhere to go due to the coronavirus pandemic?
A: Reports of domestic abuse are often made by school teachers and therapists who come into homes with children who need their services. However, with the cancellation of school and therapy sessions now happening online, reports that would have been made by teachers and therapists are lower as a result of less face-to-face interactions. Nevertheless, many cities and countries around the world are seeing growing numbers of domestic violence with so many people staying home with the COVID-19 outbreak. Some countries like France and Spain have implemented a code word (“mask 19”) for customers being abused to use at pharmacies to alert staff to call the police. While the United States is still working on getting this code word established with pharmacies, those experiencing abuse have several options for getting help. If you or a loved one is experiencing domestic violence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline offers several contact methods: Call 800-799-7233, text LOVEIS to 22522, or visit its website, which has online chat support available around the clock. If you need help with other types of violence or mental health issues, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Q: What KenCrest programs and services are closed?
A: KenCrest’s day program facilities closed March 13th, and KenCrest’s Early Learning programs closed March 16th. Our Pennsylvania Early Intervention services transitioned to tele-intervention services on March 23rd. Our Delaware Early Intervention services started tele-evaluations in the northern part of the state, and service coordination started in the New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties on March 23rd also. All of KenCrest Community Living program options—including our in-home/supported living, Lifesharing, and medically fragile programs—are continuing throughout Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Delaware.
Q: Are KenCrest staff wearing masks?
A: As of April 7th, we are following the mandates set forth by our governing states; all of our staff were issued masks and are wearing them at work and out in public spaces.
Q: Are KenCrest clients wearing masks?
A: As of April 1st, we are following the mandates set forth by our governing states; clients are not wearing masks within their homes, unless we’ve deemed it medically necessary for them to do so. When we must take them out of their homes for essential doctor’s appointments, we are encouraging them to wear masks.
Q: When will the Community Participation and Day Programs re-open?
A: Our Community Participation and Day Programs will re-open when we receive directives from our governing entities. The re-opening of these programs has yet to be determined.
Q: Will KenCrest close?
A: KenCrest is considered an essential healthcare and life-sustaining business, and our staff will continue to report to work at their respective offices, homes, and locations. With the exception of our day programs and early learning centers, all KenCrest locations will remain open.
Q: Can people make a donation to KenCrest related to the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Absolutely, we are appreciative of everyone who supports KenCrest throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like to make a donation (monetary, needed supplies, masks), you can do so at https://www.kencrest.org/get-involved/help-during-covid-19/. Please email us at email@example.com if you’d like to arrange a drop-off/pick-up of any supplies.
Q: Is KenCrest accepting supply donations? If so, what donations do you need?
A: We are extremely grateful for any supply donations we receive. We have a significant need for the following:
- N95 masks or any paper mask
- Hand-sewn masks
- Coffee filters
- Vinyl gloves, size large and extra large
- Paper gowns
- Sanitation products (bleach, bleach wipes, Lysol wipes, spray bottles)
- Arts and crafts (construction paper, tape, glue, crayons, markers, popsicle sticks, non-latex balloons, yarn)
- Board games
Q: What is KenCrest doing to maintain its workforce?
A: KenCrest continues to hire employees throughout the COVID-19 crisis. You can learn more about our openings at KenCrest.org/careers.
Q: What if a staff member appears to be sick?
A: We ask all employees who are sick to stay home. To err on the side of caution, if any employee exhibits a fever, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing while at work, we will ask them to seek medical evaluation, and they will be sent home.
Q: What steps can we take now to minimize risk of transmission?
A: Repeatedly, creatively, and aggressively encourage all employees and others to take the same steps they should be taking to avoid the seasonal flu. For the annual influenza, SARS, Asian flu, swine flu, and now the COVID-19 coronavirus, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid exposure. Everyone should follow these tips:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick.
- Practice social distancing – refrain from shaking hands with others for the time being.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Perhaps the most important message you can give to employees: stay home when you are sick.
Q: Have there been any cases of coronavirus at KenCrest?
A: Yes. We’re following a designated protocol of informing the families, primary care physicians, and staff who have supported and/or interacted with the individuals. We’re also applying every measure to promote the continued good health of both the individuals and those who were in contact with them. We are honoring our commitment to confidentiality; only those who need to know information about the individuals are contacted.
Q: Who should call/see their doctor?
A: The symptoms of the virus are cough, fever, and shortness of breath. You need to contact your doctor if you have these symptoms.
Q: Am I allowed to visit my loved one at their community home?
A: Effective March 16, 2020, a no in-person visitation policy has been put in place at all KenCrest community homes to limit residents’ potential exposure to the virus. Families are also not allowed to pick up residents for overnight visits. We encourage you to FaceTime, call, or video chat with your loved one.
Community Living and Other Residential Programs
Q: How is KenCrest supporting In-Home Community and Supported Independent Living clients?
A: KenCrest staff continue to support clients through video conferencing, FaceTime, and phone calls as much as possible. In instances where remote interactions wouldn’t be beneficial (such as grocery shopping), staff are limiting their physical interactions as much as possible and are practicing social distancing, sanitizing, and hand-washing guidelines mandated by our governing entities. We are also encouraging these same practices among those we support.
Q: My family member is in a KenCrest community home. I know that I can’t come inside to visit them, so what are my other options to stay connected to them?
A: Maintaining strong relationships and communication between those we support and their loved ones is one of KenCrest’s top priorities. We encourage you to call your loved one or utilize video conferencing like FaceTime.
Q: How are you protecting my loved one from COVID-19?
A: KenCrest is following the directives of the CDC in all of our sanitization and personal hygiene practices, and we’re helping those we support to do the same. We are taking extra precautions and limiting our travel outside of the community homes to essential travel, such as essential doctor appointments for individuals. When those we support need to leave their home, we are sanitizing vehicles before and after travel. We are also keeping a daily record of everyone’s temperature and staying vigilant of any symptoms associated with coronavirus.
Q: Is KenCrest stopping all public activities?
A: We are following the guidelines as established by the CDC and our service states, which include closing our day programs, limiting our community participation activities to essential activities only, and limiting activities within our In-Home Community Supports and Supported Independent Living programs. We are still encouraging exercise at our homes and getting people outside to take walks in their local parks or neighborhoods in non-crowded areas.
Q: What is the plan if our loved ones become ill?
A: Those we support are being monitored regularly for all illnesses. We are paying particular attention to the symptoms that have been identified as those closely associated with COVID-19. Should any of these appear, your loved one’s status will be immediately shared with the nursing staff, who is in regular contact with each of our homes. Following the CDC guidelines, we’ll call their primary doctor, follow the recommendations received, and if determined necessary by their physician, transport your loved one to the emergency room.
Q: What is the plan if our loved one’s roommate(s) or staff member becomes ill?
A: Those we support are being monitored regularly for all illnesses. We are paying particular attention to the symptoms that have been identified as those closely associated with COVID-19. Should any of these appear, we will share the individual’s status with the nursing staff, who is in regular contact with each of our homes. Following the CDC guidelines, we’ll call their primary doctor, follow the recommendations received, and if determined necessary by their physician, transport them to the emergency room. If the individual does not need emergency care, we will do our best to quarantine them to their bedroom. Our goal is to support people in their homes, where they’re most comfortable, as much as possible. If a staff member becomes ill, he or she will be sent home to self-quarantine for 14 days, get tested, and recover. They may return to work after recovering and being symptom-free without taking medication for three days in a row.
Q: Will you send clients to the hospital?
A: Yes, if it is determined to be medically necessary by the recommendations of the primary care physician.
Q: How are you testing clients for coronavirus?
A: We are not testing anyone at any of our locations; testing is being done at designated health locations. If medically necessary as determined by the family physician, we will transport any individual who is suspect to the hospital for further evaluation.
Q: What are clients doing during the day if their daily programs are shut down?
A: Our day program staff have been reassigned to work in the homes and are providing services to individuals in their community homes. We have team members who have created activity plans for day program staff to lead in the community homes to keep everyone engaged. Those activities are still ramping up and improving with each passing day.
Q: Are transportation vehicles being disinfected on a nightly basis?
A: Our use of the vehicles is very limited since we’re not going out. Staff have been instructed to clean them if they find it necessary to take clients out of the homes.
Q: Do the facilities have enough hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies on hand?
A: They currently have cleaning supplies. Additional supplies are on order and scheduled to arrive in the upcoming days. Hand sanitizer is not permitted to be kept in open spaces in the homes, but staff are permitted to carry it on them. In the event that we run out of the purchased bleach sanitation wipes, our locations have guidelines on creating their own bleach solution wipes.
Q: Are community activities being limited, or are clients still going out and about as usual?
A: We are following the guidelines as established by the CDC and our service states, and limiting our community activities. This includes but isn’t limited to attending church services, social events, and/or anything that draws a large group of people. We are still encouraging exercise at our homes and getting people outside to take walks in their local parks or neighborhoods in non-crowded areas.
Q: What steps are being taken to ensure that substitute staff are available should a regular staff member become ill?
A: We have centralized scheduling, which has access to our entire available workforce. We’re assessing our training needs so that our front office support and administration staff can supplement our direct care work force, if needed.
Q: Are the homes stocked with emergency supplies in the event that the house needs to be quarantined?
A: We have procedures in place regarding quarantining and supplies, and we are considering and updating those daily.
Q: What communication protocol has been put out to keep everyone informed?
A: Internally, we have daily calls with our leadership team, host virtual town hall calls with all staff frequently, and disseminate information through our internal communication platforms and tools. Externally, we’ve sent out letters to all the families and individuals we support, posted updates to our website about how KenCrest is handling the COVID-19 situation, made our website available in multiple languages, maintained an on-going list of frequently asked questions on the website, established a hot line number (833-329-4333) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for questions from the community, and posted directives to our social media pages. We are currently exploring other communication tools including a text message application for staff and for families. If you have any suggestions, please contact us at email@example.com. We welcome your feedback.
Early Intervention Services
Q: How is KenCrest supporting families receiving Early Intervention services?
A: Our Pennsylvania Early Intervention services transitioned to tele-intervention services on March 23rd. Our Delaware Early Intervention services started tele-evaluations in the northern part of the state, and service coordination started in the New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties on March 23rd also. All of KenCrest Community Living program options—including our in-home/supported living, Lifesharing, and medically fragile programs—are continuing throughout Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Delaware.
We reached out to all of the families we support directly to help them enroll in tele-interventions and tele-evaluations. We have continued to provide additional resources to the families for activities and provide as much support as we can through phone calls and emails when questions arise. A plethora of family resources can be found on this web page in the “COVID-19 Resources for Families” section.
Early Learning Centers
Q: Are KenCrest Early Learning Centers offering free/reduced-price breakfast or lunch services at their locations?
A: KenCrest’s Early Learning Centers (ELCs) receive funding through the School District of Philadelphia. Any child previously receiving free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch at any of our locations will be able to take advantage of the meal service programs being provided by the School District of Philadelphia during our closures. As of March 23, 2020, 80 locations will help to provide meals at certain hours of certain days. Click here to find the list of locations providing the meal services as well as locations providing safe activities throughout the week. Please do not go to any of our ELC locations looking for this service; all of our centers are closed.
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